What legacy best practices you should apply today

We all want to implement the best approaches to engage and inspire donors to consider a gift in

We all want to implement the best approaches to engage and inspire donors to consider a gift in their will to our organizations. Which explains why it’s usually the first question I get asked when presenting a webinar or education session. Instinctively, I’d make a quick list off the top of my head.

It became obvious that I needed to put more thought into this question and actually create a list and categorize it.

Over the next few weeks, #GlobetrottingFundraiser’s posts will cover the legacy best practices I’ve collated.

Building Your Team

At a minimum, one full-time professional dedicated 100% of their time to legacy fundraising. This includes prospect identification, marketing, solicitation and stewardship.

Why is this important?

If the organization is serious about building a strong legacy program, one person must be dedicated 100% of their time to doing the work. Over the years I’ve observed many organizations split the legacy responsibilities among 2-3 fundraisers. Sure, the organization counts these as one full-time equivalent (FTE) but this approach requires more coordination of responsibilities by management and the fundraisers in question.

Unfortunately, this can negatively impact the growth and potential of the legacy program. The best thing is to hire one experienced individual completely dedicated to growing the program and engaging with donors in a smart, efficient, and strategic way.

Form an advisory committee composed of financial advisors, notaries, lawyers, realtors, life insurance agents, or others who bring an expertise.

Why is this important?

As a legacy fundraising expert, your job is to identify donors and move them through an inspirational journey that will result in legacy pledges. At no point should we be disposing legal or financial advice.

This is why you need to build an advisory committee with the expertise and skillset that complement your legacy program. They will be your go-to people when you have questions, doubts or in need of advise. They can also provide a valuable service to your donors who may not have their own advisors.

Your donors will appreciate the service, you will be assured you have the right information = everyone will be happy!

Identifying Prospects

Capture age, salutation, marital status, if they have children and level of education.

Why is this important?

Working with your database manager, ensure that you capture your donors’ age (at a minimum their year of birth), their chosen salutation, marital status, level of education and whether they have children. These pieces of information will help you identify legacy prospects and tailor legacy messages.

But read on, there’s more …..

Consider the following statistical predispositions:

1- Older in age

2- Single or widowed

3- No children

4- Appreciated property

5- Female

Why is this important?

Research has demonstrated that legacy prospects have most, if not all, of the above predispositions. Knowing how to identify donors in your database that have these predispositions will ensure that you are investing your marketing efforts on the right prospects. Inevitably, this will ensure you are investing your limited marketing budget on donors who have the highest propensity to consider a gift in their will.

Get your board of directors to be the first to sign up as legacy pledgers.

Why is this important?

When you’re getting started, it’s important to approach your most dedicated and committed prospects: the members of your board of directors. At this point they would have heard your case for investing in a legacy program, they understand the importance of legacies within the overall legacy program, and they are the organization’s most committed volunteers.

Your first legacy asks should be directed at them. It’ll be a great way for them to lead by example and show their commitment to the program. Plus, by being early adopters of the program, they can also provide testimonials and stories that you can later use in your legacy marketing.

What do you think?

Do you have any best practices to add to the above two headings?

Do you have any questions about any of these best practices?

Stay tuned to next week when I share more legacy best practices.

As always, don’t hesitate to write to me if you have any questions or comments. Just head over to the comment section below.

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